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Best Survival Pocket Knife

Last Updated: January 21, 2020
Terry Daine
Product Review by Terry Daine

One of the best and worst things about the future is that it’s completely unpredictable. Anything could happen at any time, so you never know when you’re going to need survival tools.

Pocket knives are up there with the handiest of survival tools. In every decent bug out bag or survival kit, you’ll find a survival pocket knife.

Picture this; you’re out in the forest with only a survival kit with you. Without the best survival pocket knife, you’ll be unable to cut open any fruit or nuts found nearby.

You won’t be able to remove splinters or anything stuck in your body. You won’t be able to cut bait when fishing, or if you’re lucky enough to catch a fish, you won’t be able to gut it and cut it.

You’ll want the best survival pocket knife to survive in the wilderness or in a similar situation. The best pocket knife will be handy, durable, lightweight, and compact.

Take a look at our reviews below, and follow our useful buyer’s guide with expert advice, to help you make the best decision!

Our Reviews

1

Elk Ridge Ballistic Quality Pocket Knife

Elk Ridge know what they’re doing when it comes to knives, and this pocket knife is no exception.

This 4.75” is slightly larger than others on the market, but is arguably the perfect size for any situation.

With an attractive red-brown Pakkawood handle contrasting with the black boyster and leather lanyard, this knife certainly looks the part.

Whether you’re a survival enthusiast or spend a lot of time in the wilderness, or for everyday use, it is definitely worth having an Elk Ridge pocket knife on your possession. For under $20, this knife can save your life and make everyday tasks, from opening parcels to cutting meat so much easier.

Although maybe not the best for extreme survival situations, this knife is certainly great for use in the wilderness.

This sturdy knife flips open easily, smoothly, and quickly. Once open, it immediately locks into place.

The blade itself is extremely sharp, and will cut through wood, rope, and even some metals.

If you’re purchasing this as a gift for somebody, or even for yourself, you have the option of free engraving. The engraving is deep and looks very professional, and you can even choose between a multitude of fonts. The craftsmanship on this knife is great, so it would make a perfect present for a loved one, or for groomsmen.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Free engraving
  • Fab gift idea

Cons

  • Heavier than others on the market
2

Kershaw Blur Tanto Black Serrated Pocket Knife

This moderately priced pocket knife by Kershaw is perfect for tough jobs such as hunting, fishing, emergency rescue, and tactical engagement.

The blade itself is corrosion-resistant, and DLC-coated for extra hardness and strength. The 3-⅜ inch blade can be used for both extreme and everyday situations.

Held in place with a secure liner lock, the blade can be flipped open with one hand by either pushing the thumb stud or pressing the flipper. This would be ideal if you’re a bit tied up (literally) and can only use one hand.

Once the blade has been exposed, it locks into place until you press the thumb stud again.

Don’t worry if you’re left-handed, because this knife is suitable for both left and right-handed users.

You don’t need to worry about this pocket knife snapping or getting damaged while you’re cutting through a tough bit of meat or wood, as it’s constructed of 13C26 stainless steel.

The handle on this pocket knife is also super durable, made of black 6061-T6 anodized aluminum (anodized for color). It has extra grips for outdoor situations and is also great to use in wet conditions.

The grip has great traction too, so there’s no chance of you slipping and accidentally cutting an arm off.

If you’ve been in the wilderness for a few years, you might be looking a bit worse-for-wear, but this pocket knife certainly won’t. Not only is the blade scratch-resistant, but the actual handle is too.

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • High-performance steel
  • One-handed safe opening

Cons

  • No guard between hand and blade
3

Off-Grid Knives Folding EDC Knife - Hawkbill Collection

This knife will get you through the most extreme of situations.

The blade is robust and powerful, made from cryogenically treated razor-sharp Japanese AUS-8 blade steel.

The durable pocket knife can be used in various situations. Whether you’re an electrician, a warehouse worker, a camper, hiker, fisher, or even a military member, this knife will serve you well.
The US Military have been known to use this type of knife, as have firefighters and law enforcement officers, This demonstrates just how useful and trusted this pocket knife is.

The tip of the blade has a viciously curved tip that can penetrate pretty much anything.

There are four options available when purchasing this knife:
1) Original – Satin Finish
2) Compact with Grid-Lock – Satin Finish
3) Hawkbill Blackout – Full size
4) Hawkbill Blackout – Compact

The handle on this knife is textured for a great grip, which is expected of one of the best knives for survival.

If you have children or are around children, don’t worry about them getting access to this piece of equipment. The blade locks up like a vault, so the grid-lock switch turns this compact blade into a fixed blade knife.

Pros

  • Equipped with finger guard for safety
  • Ideal for heavy-duty use
  • 4 choices of design
  • Durable and sharp steel construction

Cons

  • Not the lightest pocket knife, weighing 5.3oz
4

Victorinox Swiss Tinker Pocket Knife

You never know what life’s going to throw at you, but rest assured you’ll be prepared for any situation with this Swiss Tinker Pocket Knife.

If you want a knife that won’t put a hole in your pocket, this one’s for you. Just make sure you flip the blade back!

Perfectly pocket size, the dimensions of this knife come in at 3.6” in length, 0.6” in height, and 2.2oz in weight. This is conveniently compact for something that has over 12 different tools attached to it.

Don’t be fooled by the budget-friendly price, as this product is exceptionally high quality. The durable knife should last you a lifetime, and is a go-to for newbies to the survival scene.The steel of this knife is tempered, annealed, and polished, which achieves a brilliant hardness and resilience to corrosion.

If your blades need a wash (which is likely after cutting tree bark or gutting fish), simply open and close the blades in warm water a few times to allow the tools to move easily again. To maintain the knife, apply a small amount of oil between the blades and tools. NEVER put this in the dishwasher.

Pros

  • Multi-tool so you're equipped for any occassion
  • Budget-friendly
  • Durable
  • Lightweight and compact

Cons

  • Need sharp nails to open the tools
5

Steinbrucke Tactical Pocket Knife

For such a budget-friendly price, you wouldn’t expect this Steinbrucke knife to have such a premium design. The StoneWashed coating protects the knife from any corrosion. The blade has undergone sharpening twice to make it razor sharp. It has been built with high-performance German Stainless Steel, hardened to 58-59 HRC (hot-rolled coil) Hardness.

At 3.4”, this is round about the average size of a blade. It is slightly heavier than some others on the market though, weighing 0.5lb. It may be slightly too heavy for everyday use, but it is certainly great to be equipped with when you’re camping or fishing.

To open the knife, simply press lightly on the outer frame lock, and the blade will automatically release. To close it, push the inner frame lock towards the left and close the blade manually.

It can be used for a multitude of other activities, such as mountaineering, hunting, and whittling.

With an ergonomic aluminum handle design and an anti-grip finish, this Tactical Knife is easy to grip. The inner frame of the handle is built with 1,5mm thickness stainless steel, which adds to the high durability of this knife.

Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • Attractive design
  • Pocket clasp
  • Durable steel construction

Cons

  • Can lose sharpness fast
  • Blade can loosen during intense use

Blade Size

The size of your blade is something that you need to consider when deciding which pocket knife is best for you. A smaller knife is better for EDC (every day carry) as they are obviously easier to fit in your pocket, and a lot less threatening.

If you brought out a huge 10” knife at work in front of your colleagues, just to cut your laces or something, then there would probably be a bit of a commotion.

The length of the best survival pocket knife should be between 6 and 12”, and you should choose the blade length according to what you’re most likely going to be using it for. If it cuts wood, shaves bark from branches, and can help to prepare you a dinner in the wilderness, you have the right knife.

Material

The type of metal used for the blade can vary.

High Carbon Steel

High carbon steel tends to be significantly tougher than stainless steel, as the grain structure is much denser. They may be a little bit more prone to corrosion, and a bit less wear-resistant than those of stainless steel.

Stainless Steel

With stainless steel, they’re significantly less prone to corrosion, due to the inclusion of around 12.5% Chromium. Blades made of this material may also be harder to sharpen as opposed to high carbon steel.

Rockwell Hardness

You should consider the Rockwell Hardness of the blade before you make a sharp decision. Bladesmiths use a scale called the Rockwell Scale C to determine the hardness of knife blades.

A super tough blade will have a Rockwell Hardness of around 58-62 HRC. A Rockwell Hardness of 54-57 is a good compromise between edge holding ability and toughness.

The harder a blade is, the more likely it is to break. A hard knife will certainly hold an edge, though.

Handle

No matter what you’re using the knife for, you don’t want a handle with a slippery grip.

If the knife slips even slightly, it could end in a serious injury. You want a firm grip on the knife when it’s in your hand. Especially if you’ll be using the knife for hard use, you’ll want a comfortable, ergonomic grip.

The handle can come in an array of materials.

Here’s a list of common knife handle materials:

  • Derlin
  • Kirinite
  • Stag Angler
  • Jigged Bone
  • Mica Pearl

You want the handle to have an excellent grip even in the pouring rain or the freezing cold. Again, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a solid grip on your knife.

Weight

For EDC especially, you’re looking for a knife that won’t weigh you down. If it’s going to be living in your pocket, you want to barely notice it’s there.

However, if you’ll be using it for hard use, such as cutting meat or wood or metals, you may have to get a heavier, toucher knife.

If you’re carrying it every day, you may want to consider a knife that weighs less than 5oz.

Especially for urban survival, it may be worth getting a knife made of durable plastics or with a skeleton design. Plastic does tend to be a lot more lightweight than a lot of popular metals used in knife-making.

Features

Before deciding which knife you should purchase, you need to determine where you’ll most likely be using it. If you’re using it in the wilderness for survival or for recreational hunting, you may opt for a knife that has a gut hook. Urban survival requires different features, like a pry tip or line cutter.

Gut Hook

A gut hook will hugely speed up the process of skinning an animal. The hook in the spine of the knife should penetrate the animal, and then can be pulled down with ease.

It’s also used to open the abdomen of the animal without slicing into the muscle, which minimizes damage to the meat.

The gut hook must be maintained well as it’s no use to you when it’s dull.

Partial Serration

A knife with partial serration allows you to cut rope, bone, hide, and wood – which is extremely useful for use in the wilderness.

Belt/ Line Cutter

Hopefully you’ll never find yourself in this situation, but imagine you’re in a car accident and you’re trapped in the car. The car sets on fire.

What do you do?

Luckily your knife has a seatbelt cutter.

The blade has a narrow cut out on the back of the knife, which can be used when the blade is folded to slide thin materials (like your seat belt) in and cut them. Luckily, the gap is too small to get fingers chopped off in it.

Glass Breaker

So, once you’ve freed yourself from the seat using the belt cutter, you’re still trapped in the car. Don’t worry though, as your knife can smash glass.

Pry Tip

If you’ve purchased a knife without a glass breaker, then it’s not the end of the world. You may be able to jimmy open the door using the pry tip on the knife. It’s a flat tip at the end of your knife, usually found on thicker blades.

Recap

There are plenty of great products to choose from when you’re looking for a pocket knife. However, my pick for the best survival pocket knife would be the Kershaw Blur Tanto Black Serrated Pocket Knife.

Its durable design and ability to cut through tough materials makes this the ideal pocket knife for any survival situation.

Now that you know the benefits of having a survival pocket knife on hand, it’s time to choose the best one to add to your toolkit!

Thanks for reading, and we hope our reviews have helped you to find the best survival pocket knife for you.

Please leave any feedback in the comments section below, and if you have any suggestions for further topics, please get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you!

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